Defence and security company Saab, manufacturer of the Gripen E fighter aircraft, is meeting local industry representatives in ten different locations across Switzerland to present and discuss business opportunities in the Gripen E programme. The tour made its first stop yesterday evening at the Zurich Chamber of Commerce.
If Switzerland follows the Swiss Government’s plan to acquire 22 Gripen E fighters, Saab is obliged to provide Swiss industry with business equal to the value of the Gripen contract, through so called Swiss Industrial Participation (SIP). But first it needs to get through Parliament.
For Zurich States’ Councilor Felix Gutzwiller (FDP), the case is clear:
“Gripen seems to be on course. Even if there has been some delay in the parliamentary process, I am convinced that the majority of the parliamentarians will eventually vote for the Gripen programme and thus secure the sovereignty of our air space.”
Over the coming weeks, Saab will be visiting a total of ten locations across Switzerland, including three in the French part as well as Lugano. The aim is to inform regional manufacturers about the opportunities to co-operate and find new business partners. At the same time, Saab specialists are visiting targeted companies directly in order to deepen relationships or develop new ones.
“We look for long-term, commercially viable business partnerships with a sustainable impact. It’s one of the criteria specified by armasuisse. The work has to be carried out systematically and with great detail, which also takes time,” says Henry Johansson, Vice President Gripen Switzerland.
Pius Drescher, who represents Swiss defense contractors within the industry association Swissmem, confirms the importance of the SIP programme:
“To generate business volumes for the Swiss industry must always happen in a sustainable and effective way. That especially counts for the security and defence industry.”
At the end of 2012, SAAB had realized SIP business worth 250 million francs, 200 million of which has already been approved by armasuisse. Saab has committed to deliver SIP of at least 300 million before the Gripen contract is signed. The company also recently announced that it will extend its Swiss Gripen supplier base to develop and produce major components of the Gripen E aircraft – rear fuselage, pylons (weapon stations), tail cone, air brakes and external fuel “drop” tanks. The contract value of this work amounts to 200 million CHF and 500,000 man-hours of work.
One of the speakers at the Zurich Chamber of Commerce was Martin Sauter, Managing Director of Sauter Bachmann of Netstal in Canton Glarus, has been working effectively and successfully for years with GE Aviation, initially as part of the F/A-18 procurement programme. In the future this co-operation will extend to the Gripen programme - GE Aviation is a business partner of Saab and supplies the engine for the Gripen E.
“GE Aviation is working with us primarily because we are competitive, but also because it is part of this three-cornered relationship with Saab, which means we all benefit,” says the Managing Director of Sauter Bachmann, Martin Sauter.
In February, Sauter Bachmann and GE Aviation concluded a Long-Term Agreement (LTA) for the manufacture of selected F414 engine components in Switzerland, from 2013 to 2017, a contract worth 29 million CHF.
For further information:
Saab Switzerland, Communication & Marketing
+41 79 777 40 30, Mike Helmy, firstname.lastname@example.org
Saab Press Office
+46 734 180 018
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